December 31, 2020 – Poweshiek County, Iowa – Poweshiek County Public Health received a shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine on December 21 and began administering the vaccine to individuals who fall into priority Group 1a on December 22.
As mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health care workers are among the first to receive the vaccine. Long-term care facility residents and staff are also in Group 1a. The Federal Government is managing the vaccine distribution to states, and state public health departments are working through the administration process to those within the priority groups. The COVID-19 Vaccines are not available to the general public at this time.
“This is an exciting time for our team and for our communities,” says Shauna Callaway, RN, BSN, director of Poweshiek County Public Health. “The vaccine arrival has stirred up a feeling of hope and a sense that we are at the beginning of the end for the pandemic. At this time, we are in contact with employers and leaders of organizations that fall into the Group 1a category—we’re happy to share that we have them scheduled or have already administered the first dose of the vaccine.”
This is a great step forward, but it’s not time to return to a pre-COVID-19 lifestyle. “We need our communities to continue practicing public health measures to keep our most vulnerable members safe. Wear your mask, stay home if you’re not feeling well or awaiting test results, use good hand hygiene and practice social distancing,” reminds Callaway.
There is not a set timeline for when the vaccines will become available to the general public. The CDC recommends that the next phases (1b and 1c) should be offered to critical infrastructure and frontline essential workers, such as firefighters, police officers, those in the educational sector and others.
“We will continue communicating and planning with priority groups. As soon as we receive the authorization to do so and have quantities of the vaccine available, vaccine clinics will be scheduled,” says Callaway. “The timing remains to be seen for when we can move into the next groups as well as how many doses of the vaccine we will get as we move forward in this process.”
More information on CDC recommendations for vaccine distribution can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations.html.
For updates and information from Poweshiek County Public Health, please follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PoweshiekCountyPublicHealth.